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The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man

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4.01  ·  Rating details ·  253 ratings  ·  21 reviews
This is the devastating book which first established Marshall McLuhan's reputation as the foremost (and the wittiest) critic of modern mass communications.The Mechanical Bride is vintage McLuhan -- so aptly illustrated by dozens of examples from ads, comic strips, columnists, etc., that those who were stung by McLuhan were hard put for rebuttals. It shows how sex was first ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 28th 2002 by Gingko Press (first published 1951)
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Imogen
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marchall McLuhan hates everything, too, so why do I like him more than Slavoj Zizek? I will tell you why. Because I am petty, so when Zizek says, 'everything is stupid,' I say, 'whatever, duh.' But when McLuhan says 'the media is evil,' I say, 'yeah! I am the choir, preach to me!'
sologdin
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-theory
Written to address the "condition of public helplessness" (v) brought about by the modern capitalist world (similar to Neumann's position in Behemoth), McLuhan recommends Poe's method from 'A Descent into the Maelstrom,' "studying the action of the whirlpool and by co-operating with it" (id.). What is meant is "rational detachment as a spectator" regarding the "world of social myths" (similar to Barthes in Mythologies) (id.).

This perspective should remind us of Benjamin's thesis that fascism aestheticizes politics:
...more
Stephanie McGarrah
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
The Mechanical Bride may have been an important book at one point, but now it feels very old.
Thadd
May 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
A frightening book about tv, radio, print and other ads, ones that change our goals, alter the neighborhood, and elect our presidents. It's impossible to measure precisely how ads affect our lives, but this book tries. Let's face it, from now until the day we die, morning, noon and night, seven days a week, we're going to be bombarded by mind numbing ads. Escaping the effects of ads is tough if not impossible. This book might make you think more about it. That's a good start.
Elena
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
I don’t understand how this book managed to be interesting and boring at the same time. Either way, i really had to push myself to finish it. I think nowadays its value is reaaally lower than when it was written. I mean, in the 50s? WOKE. Today? Everyone with a little bit of common sense knows the stuff he points out already. But props to McLuhan for understanding that 70 years ago.
Timothy
Apr 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Witty and entertaining but not one of McLuhan's seminal works. My original thought upon picking this up was that it was like an American companion to Mythologies by Roland Barthes. Not so much. The latter still fascinates, while this one is just cute. It reads at about the same level as Thomas Frank.
Paul Bard
May 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-to-be-read
McLuhan prints a really old advertisement then gives his opinions on it on the same or opposite page. The ads are hideous, the opinions trite, and the book worthless.

McLuhan admits in the preface that he is not doing art criticism but rather politics dressed up as art criticism. So not only is he misusing art but he is doing what he accuses mass media of doing - trying to force his opinions on others under the disguise of them being what the others want.

No. No thank you, we are fine
...more
Steven
Sep 14, 2019 added it
I'm going to just assume this aged very poorly.
Richard
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book. Written in 1951 when only 1 in 10 homes had TVs. This book really sets the ground work for a lot of the intellectual paths that came after it.
Carol Sill
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Move over Mad Men, this is the basis of so much of your script - especially the early episodes. Actually seeing McLuhan's early work in pop culture and communications makes this book a fantastic trip through memory lane. Mechanical Bride indeed! We are in the soup of it now, and have moved far along in the now old marriage-a-trois of mechanization, myth making and communications designed to sway the masses into a single buying machine: "They became what they beheld." Now, so many years after pub ...more
Mahmoud Awad
Apr 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
"The Vanguard Press (1926–1988) was a United States publishing house established with a $100,000 grant from the left wing American Fund for Public Service, better known as the Garland Fund."
Self-explanatory. Don't pick up this book expecting anything less than the most painful 157 pages of wretched, petulant leftist claptrap you'd find outside of a community college. Honestly delivered more of a headache than Sorrel's Reflections on Violence, which I'd consider a major accomplishment.
Katie Wennechuk
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
First book of the new year! Marshall McLuhan uses commentary on ads to show how the best trained minds of our age have made it their full time business to get inside the collective public mind in order to manipulate, exploit and control. This generates a lot of heat but no light and keeps us in a constant state of mental rutting. AMAZING BOOK.
maha
Sep 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: media, to-buy
كيف تجسد الاعلانات في المجلات والجرائد احلام شعب وثقافته؟ من مستحضرات التجميل التي تحوي وعودا بالجمال والانوثة، الى اعلانات السجائر التي تعد وعودا بأن تصبح أكثر رجولة، الى مستحشرات التنظيف المنزلي التي تعدكم بأنك ستكوني ربة بيت ماهرة لتسعدي عائلتك. احببت فكرة الكتاب وتعليقات ماكلوهن الساخرة
ولا أملك الا ان "أرى صوته" عندما شاهدت بعض الاعلانات الساذجة كلما عدت للوطن :)

Jenan
Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As I was reading this book one thought accompanied me throughout reading almost all of it: was this really published 1951? The author's ability to unravel the mysteries of the human psyche in our modern time was truly amazing!
Highly recommended!
J L
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Decades later, the observations made in this title, written largely as a collection of essays, are still incredibly relevant.

For any artist in New Media, any Publisher, and any child of the digital age, it's definitely worth the read.
Jeff
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely fascinating view of our culture from a completely unique perspective. This is where McLuhan started his journey of exploration into how our tools, and means of storing and moving experience shape how we view the world; as well as how they extend our various faculties and appendages.
John Brooke
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to John by: John Salmon
Shelves: brain-works, myths
When I read this book I was working in the advertising industry as a young art director. McLuhan's clear perspective on the nature of the greed industry opened my eyes to see beyond mere seductive images and the mind machinations in the viewer. A breath taking work.
Todd Harris
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very interesting read on the culture of commerce and the disconnect that can happen between members of our modern society.
Maria Gambale
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Definitely does not stand the test of time. Couldn't spend more than 5 minutes with it.
Stuart David
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Sep 28, 2011
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Chaosdroid
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Sep 06, 2008
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Apr 28, 2012
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Herbert Marshall McLuhan, CC, was a Canadian educator, philosopher, and scholar — a professor of English literature, a literary critic, and a communications theorist. McLuhan's work is viewed as one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory. McLuhan is known for coining the expressions "the medium is the message" and the "global village".

“Ours is the first age in which many thousands of the best-trained individual minds have made it a full-time business to get inside the collective public mind.” 7 likes
“The formula for this brand of "historical" writing is to put the public on the inside; to let them feel the palpitations of royal and imperial lovers and to overhear their lispings and cooings. It can be argued that a man has to live somewhere, and that if his own time is so cut up by rapid change that he can't find a cranny big enough to relax in, then he must betake himself to the past. That is certainly one motive in the production of historical romance, from Sir Walter Scott to Thornton Wilder. But mainly this formula works as a means of flattery. The public is not only invited inside but encouraged to believe that there is nothing inside that differs from its own thoughts and feelings. This reassurance is provided by endowing historical figures with the sloppiest possible minds. The great are "humanized" by being trivial.
The debunking school began by making the great appear as corrupt, or mean and egotistical. The "humanizers" have merely carried on to make them idiotic. "Democratic" vanity has reached such proportions that it cannot accept as human anything above the level of cretinous confusion of mind of the type popularized by Hemingway's heroes. Just as the new star must be made to appear successful by reason of some freak of fortune, so the great, past or present, must be made to seem so because of the most ordinary qualities, to which fortune adds an unearned trick or idea.”
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